East Palo Alto police investigating February homicide, another death following murder-free 2023

Lauren Martinez Image
Tuesday, April 9, 2024
East Palo Alto violent crime concerns following murder-free 2023
East Palo Alto police are still investigating their first murder of 2024 and determining whether a death Monday was criminal as well.

EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- East Palo Alto police are still investigating their first murder of 2024 and determining whether a death Monday was criminal as well.

Police say they found a man off Newell Road on Monday.

The Chief of Police, Jeff Liu, said it's too early to determine if a criminal act occurred.

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Last year, East Palo Alto had zero murders.

Chief Liu called it a momentous milestone for a community once marked by adversity.

In the early 1990s, East Palo Alto was once known as the U.S. murder capital.

Since the late 1980s, Margaret Petros has helped families of murder victims in East Palo Alto and throughout the Bay Area.

"From the beginning of my career back from 1988 when I started I was told - don't go into East Palo Alto - I always drove into East Palo Alto and met with families," Petros said.

Petros is currently the executive director of the organization called Mothers Against Murder, advocating for victims of violence.

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"We're not going to tolerate it and we're willing to put forward funds," Petros said. "Families tend to be scared. So we're here as a community organization doing it on behalf of the families on behalf of the community as well."

This year - police are asking for the public's help to solve the city's first murder of 2024.

East Palo Alto police said a man stabbed on February 8 died from his injuries a month later.

The department is still looking for his attacker.

They released this surveillance video.

It shows a white SUV stop and appears to witness the attack on the corner of University Avenue and Bell Street.

Police are asking those who were inside that white SUV to come forward, they may have vital information.

Mothers Against Murder is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible. This is an effort that Petros said MAM's founder Roger Smith put forward.

"There's always hope and if some reward can help then we're willing to. Any information that can lead to justice to the family, justice to the primary victim and to keep our community safe. It's well worth it," Petros said.

Longtime pastor of East Palo Alto, Paul Bains, said there's been a collaborative effort from the city, law enforcement, non-profits, and the faith-based community on violence prevention.

They'll be holding an annual event called Ignite Peace on August 17.

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